Democrats vs Republicans: Which Party Better Reflects the Gospel?

OK, let's tackle maybe the ultimate political issue for anyone who believes the gospel: Which party does a better job of building God's kingdom?

Which party's core ideology best affirms values like community, sharing, compassion, equality (socially and economically), justice, caring for the poor, the sick, immigrants, outcasts, the oppressed, etc?

And, which party's core ideology instead affirms the values of individualism over the community; exalts the glories of capitalism, selfishness, and greed?

My friends, this is not a hard question. It has become blatantly obvious in recent years as the Republican party has veered farther and farther to the right, increasingly adopting libertarian views that run counter to Christian principles.

One can certainly debate whether Republican or Democratic policies are smarter or more likely to work. But, any attempt to debate which are more Christian is simply rationalization.

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. And all the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on His left.

Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.'

Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite you in, or naked, and clothe You? And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'

And the King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'

Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.'

Then they themselves will also answer, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?'

Then He will answer them, saying, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

Matthew 25:31-46

We can debate which party's ideology works best in our modern world. Frankly, I personally find libertarian views attractive in some ways. However, I cannot reconcile them with the things Jesus and the Prophets in the Old Testament said. I find libertarian (and now Republican) views, as expressed by people like Ayn Rand and Paul Ryan to be unequivocally unChristian; even unGodly.

So, if the issue is which party's ideology more closely reflects the values of Jesus; the gospel -- well, there really is no debate. Everyone reading this already knows. Some of you are feeling angry and defensive; others feeling pretty good; but everyone already knows the answer to which party promotes values that best reflect the full gospel of Jesus Christ.

Here's the plain truth:

  1. The gospel of Jesus includes and requires actually doing things on earth that please God.
  2. Those things are better reflected in the beliefs and policies the progressives and democrats support than they are in the beliefs and policies that conservatives and republicans support.
  3. We all have a clear choice to make.

So, why am I progressive? Why do I normally vote Democrat? Simply because that's what Jesus would do were he here. The gospels tell us that Jesus was (and is) the most progressive person the world has ever known. And, we seek to model Jesus. It really is as simple as that.

As followers of Jesus we simply must, among other things:

  • Care for the sick
  • Give food to the hungry
  • Provide shelter to the homeless
  • Welcome the stranger
  • Be a good steward of God's creation

Everyone agrees that we must be committed to these things as private individuals. The disagreement is over whether we also have a duty to advocate for community support for these Godly things in the public and political sphere.

To me, it seems obvious that there are both individual and political implications to these biblical commands. I could give all the money I have to care for the sick and not pay for a single heart transplant or chemotherapy treatment for an uninsured person. So, individual giving is simply not enough. As noble and good as it is, all the individual charitable things we do can be overwhelmed by the bad that is done by the selfish and greedy parts of our worldly system. Selfishness and greed that, unfortunately, many Christians support when they go into the voting booth.

Charity is good; justice is much better. And justice is a systemic issue and requires systemic (political) change.

It used to be that the Christian church led the way on progressive issues. Not any more. The takeover of American christianity by the political right wing is really one of the most amazing (and devastating) things that has happened in the past century.

If we look back only 80 years or so at the American political landscape, we find the clear leader of the Democratic party was William Jennings Bryan. In fact Bryan, among other things, was the Democratic nominee for President three times in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Bryan was a populist as known as a great advocate for the common, working man. The farmer, the mill worker, etc. He often antagonized corporations and rich bankers -- favoring higher taxes and more regulation of them. Bryan, and the Democrats, were known for advocating for the right of women to vote, child labor laws and many other progressive policies. As the Wikipedia article I link to above says:

Bryan believed moral progress could achieve equality at home and, in the international field, peace between all the world's nations.

Sounds like a wonderful, progressive Democrat, right?

Yet, Bryan was also a strong christian; a conservative, even fundamentalist christian. You may remember the famous Scopes Trial where he fought against evolution based on his literal interpretation of Genesis. Bryan based his entire life, including his political philosophy, on biblical, gospel, principles. And, as a result, he was a progressive Democrat.

Importantly, Bryan was not the "voice crying in the wilderness" that christian progressives are today. He was representative of the vast majority of Christians at the time. He was just part of the huge social gospel movement that was dominant in the Christian church and which, even today, scares the dickens out of political conservatives (representatives of the rich) like Glenn Beck. This movement led the way in combating slavery, child labor, and promoting workers rights (among other things). Oh for a return to some of that "old time religion" that impacted the world for the better.

Somehow, over the past 85 years or so, the gospel has been altered from good news with both heavenly and worldly implications to good news with only heavenly implications. As a result, Christians have lost their fervor to make God's world, our world, better. That's just plain wrong.

In any event, we are not stuck with our past mistakes. We can change for the better; help create a better destiny for ourselves and God's world. The question of which Party is today more gospel-oriented is actually an easy and obvious call to make.

Jesus said we will go hell if we do not care for the poor, sick, stranger, etc. He didn't limit it to sometimes or in some ways. If our politics promotes selfishness and greed that harms the weak and vulnerable among us, -- well, God will be the judge. But Jesus already said what God would do.

As has been said before:

If you are disgusted with those who help the undeserving poor;
If you are opposed to being soft on crime;
If you think it wrong to make tough requirements on the rich;
If you want to get rid of the welfare state;
If you think God helps those who help themselves;
Then you are against what Jesus stood for.

Sorry to be such a downer but this stuff really is pretty obvious to anyone who reads the red letters and then thinks about which is the party of the rich and which is the party of the poor. And, then which would Jesus be with. It's a no-brainer

As for me, I have no problem wearing the liberal Democrat label. Though progressive, maybe even christian-socialist, is probably more descriptive. I do believe strongly in capitalism as well, I just think it should be kept in its proper place and not be left to run rampant. Society is about more than money.

Of course this page would be incomplete without at least mentioning the two primary issues Christians who vote Republican cite: abortion and gay rights.

I'll have thorough articles addressing each of those topics soon. But, essentially my points are:

  1. Faithful Christians can disagree on those issues and find support in the Bible for either view.
  2. It is questionable (to say the least) which view on those two issues is in reality more "pro-life" and "pro-family."
  3. Those are only two of literally hundreds of issues that should be taken into consideration when voting. Even if one were to concede that the Republicans are more "christian" in their view of those two issues; there's little doubt they are less christian on the others by a factor of at least 4 to 1.
  4. If a Christian is going to be a Republican because of the issues of abortion and gay rights, then they should speak out on other issues that are so clearly important to God. Yet, I don't hear Christian Republicans raising their voices for economic and social justice or creation care; while the Republican Party opposes Godly policies in these areas.
  5. Overall, in my opinion, Christians generally should vote for Democrats.

But, that's just my opinion supported by the facts laid out above. I'm very open to hearing a contrary opinion. Please post the case for the GOP using the form below.

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